The first step is to learn more about the customers you plan to sell to.
- What country are they in? This affects copy, imagery, delivery methods, and other issues such as tax and VAT.
- What currency do they prefer to pay in? Will your shopping cart support different currencies? If not, how do you address this?
- What’s their average age? This may affect, for example, the font size in your PDFs, ie to improve readability, and also the type of wording you use on your sales pages.
- How much are they willing to pay? What’s the average price they pay for digital products? How frequently do they make purchases?
- Where do they prefer to shop online? Some customers prefer to buy on the site where they find the item, i.e. on your site, and you may lose them if they leave to another site, such as Amazon if you’re selling your product there.
- So, before you start developing your digital product, you need to examine the buying patterns of your target customers.
Here are several low costs ways to do this:
- Quora – a goldmine of very valuable information in particular is you want specific answers to industry topics. The contributors to Quora tend to be professionals and share excellent research findings. If you’re not using Quora, sign up now. It’s free. You can find information by topic, keyword, and tag. You can also track topics by adding it to sites, such as Feedly, which allows you to aggregate information. In other words, the website comes to you instead of you going to them.
- LinkedIn groups – similar to Quora though it offers one advantage Quora doesn’t: size. Some of the groups of LinkedIn are very active, has very lengthy discussions (Quora’s tend to be more concise, distilled information). The best way to use your time is to zero in on specific groups, ask questions, and then follow-up with those who give the most interesting answers. This works very well is you’re prepared to contribute and share back.
- Publishers – monitor the blog posts and press releases of publishers connected to your subject matter. See if there is a specific trend emerging or gaps that you can possibly fulfil. Use Google Alerts to track press releases. Setup a dedicated folder in your email and filter them there. That way you can control the flow of information a little better.
- Best-sellers lists – look outside the fiction lists and examine the bestsellers lists for niche topics. One way to do this is to select a category in Amazon and see what books, products and items sell the best and are the most expensive. You can sort by High to Low instead of the default Low to High.
- Google Adwords – this is an interesting way to see the price of keywords. What difference does this make? In general, the more expensive the keyword, the more valuable the product. You can use this to judge the relative value of different topics (i.e. is this an underserved area and if so can you create products for it?) and also see if there is sufficient interest. And, of course, you can use it if you ever want to use Google Ad for your site.
- Forums – choose a forum that is active with lots of recent threads. Forums are a great place to get specific niche questions answered. They also appeal to users who are less likely to use Quora or LinkedIn for different reasons. Forums tend to be for real users as opposed to people who are indirectly trying to sell you their product or services, which happens a lot on LinkedIn. Warrior Forums is one of the best.
- Research publications – search for industry reports on buying patterns, spending habits, and any research findings on digital downloads, digital products, and information products. All of this will help determine the price, not only of this product, but your future releases.
Another suggestion is to write down any catchy book titles and headlines you come across when reviewing bestseller lists. I have a text file on my Desktop where I paste in great headings, blog titles and phrases that I come across during the day. If you have a smart phone, you can also use Evernote.
- Current Customers – ask specific questions, especially in Twitter, and follow up by email if possible. One tactic is to say ‘do you feel x amount is a rip-off (or great value)’ and see if others agree.
In other words, ask questions that are likely to prompt a response. When people get angry, they get to the point and say what they mean. Political correctness go out the window. I’m not suggesting you start flame wars on twitter deliberately, but look for ways to get people off the fence so you get a deeper understanding of what irritates them, what they really want to read/buy, and who’s doing it best.